The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
Send this page to Twitter!  

THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Into the Storm

Into the Storm is a fine example of next-level stupidity. In fact, if they gave Oscars for stupidity, it would win them all. The tornado-themed movie is like a remake of Twister without the characters and story that made that film interesting. It's also like a remake of Sharknado, minus the sharks and the self-aware sense of humor. Too silly to be smart and too dumb to be fun, it rests in that awkward middle ground of being a whole lot of not much. Oh, and did I mention that it's mostly shot in found footage style? You're rolling your eyes, aren't you?

The story involves a freak storm of tornadoes approaching a small town. The event is documented by a number of different camera-toting individuals, including a professional storm chaser (Veep's Matt Walsh) and meteorologist (The Walking Dead's Sarah Wayne Callies), a widowed high school vice principal (Richard Armitage) trying to reconnect with his sons, and a couple of dim-witted rednecks (Kyle Davis and Jon Reep) searching for YouTube glory. (Those last two are so annoying, you start rooting for the tornado to suck them up.) As the storm bears down, the characters race to rescue the principal's teenage son and his would-be girlfriend from an old paper mill, then warn others in the town of impending disaster.

Into the Storm was written and co-produced by John Swetnam, who knew that modern CGI effects would allow for a movie about tornadoes that had so many insane moments it would make Twister look like a Disney picture. The characters, though? They almost seem like an annoyance to him. Anything here involving humans is as formulaic and predictable as can be. You've got the guy so obsessed with filming tornadoes that he's willing to put the lives of his team in danger. You've got the teenage boy trying to keep the girl he has a crush on alive. You have the meteorologist hoping to survive the storm so she can get back home to her little girl. I could go on. It's fairly obvious that no actual thought went into creating heroes the audience could care about, because none of these personal dramas are developed beyond the most perfunctory of levels. Even the dialogue is robotic.

On the other hand, a lot of thought went into creating crazy tornado scenes. Too much thought, in fact. Into the Storm is one of those “out of the frying pan, into the fire” movies, where no matter how much natural danger the characters are in, the screenplay makes sure something comes along to make it even worse, even if that thing defies all laws of logic and science. Many scenes are unintentionally hilarious. For example, not only do the folks in this movie have to dodge tornadoes, they also have to dodge airplanes that have been swept up and are barreling through the air. (The small town has a surprisingly large airport.) It's interesting, too, how the winds are strong enough to pick up massive vehicles, yet people run around outside and are never blown away. Worst of all is a scene in the final ten minutes that's so ridiculous, the entire audience in my screening began laughing at and mocking it. This all might have been okay if Into the Storm took a winking, Sharknado-style approach, but it's clearly intent on trying to be seriously thrilling. You know what's legitimately exciting? Real meteorology. Telling a story based on the realities of tornadoes would have been far more nerve-rattling than the ludicrous scenarios we get here.

Matt Walsh and Sarah Wayne Callies give good performances amid the dreck, and to the film's credit, the visual effects are quite realistic-looking. The reasons why Swetnam and director Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) opted for the found footage approach with this subject matter are baffling, considering it largely abandons the concept in the final third. But hey, that's just one more example of stupidity. I suppose the theoretical draw of Into the Storm is seeing crazy tornado destruction. If disaster porn is your thing, just skip this lunk-headed flick and watch actual storm-chaser footage online instead. It's free, and doubtlessly more suspenseful.

( 1/2 out of four)

Into the Storm is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references. The running time is 1 hour and 29 minutes.

Buy a copy of my book, "Straight-Up Blatant: Musings From The Aisle Seat," on sale now at! Paperback and Kindle editions also available at!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.